Philosophy – I

I am giving a talk in April on “Evolution, Revolution, and Test Automation.”

Here’s the abstract:

How do we know what works in software testing? And how do we prove it?

In this class, you’ll hear a brief discussion of the evolution of scientific knowledge, which leads into the evolution of software testing and test automation. We’ll discuss the different way to evaluate statements about software testing, and then apply those to common testing challenges. Starting with the “test triangle analogy,” Matt will discuss how the concept of testing has changed over the years, moving quickly from system testing to unit, acceptance, performance, and even mock-based testing, the pros and cons of each, and how to identify them.

Finally, Matt will make some predictions about where testing is going. Not magical, visionary predictions, but instead practical suggestions to take your organization to the next level.

You may not agree with what Matt has to say, but he offers three guarantees:
• You will leave the room thinking
• You will be armed with tangible techniques to evaluate the myriad of “best practices”
• You will not be bored

That’s right folks – I’m going to cover the history of scientific thought and apply it to software testing, all in one hour!

… Or, then again, maybe not. It would probably be more accurate to say that I will “Try to hit the high notes.”

Which brings me to an interesting problem.

The talk involves a good amount of discussion of the nature of knowledge. To do that, I’ve got to cover a little bit of philosophy.

After the last time I gave the talk, someone actually came up to me afterward and said “Matt, I really appreciate your point about the Heglian synthesis of thesis and antithesis, but if you are going to have academics in your audience, you’ve got to use the correct terminology.”

I have no idea that that means.

So I went home to my wife, who has a degree in Philosophy, and asked her about it. She replied something like this:

“Matt,there are two kinds of people in your audience. Academics who care about terminology, and do-ers who care about getting things done. You cannot please both. Which group is more common among your attendees?”

When I told her the crowd would be do-ers, she replied “Well, that’s easy. You don’t have to sound smart to impresss do-ers – you just have to be smart and get things done.”

Come to think of it, that’s just good advice in general.

If you’ve got a snowballs chance of making it out to ST&PCon, drop me a line. If not, but you’ve attended in the past, there is a little website with forums and stuff where you can participate anyway …

2 comments on “Philosophy – I

  1. Turns out it’s easy to sound smart, too. Use terminology in any reasonable way you like. When someone questions you, explain it. When they tell you that isn’t the way Hegel used a certain term, say “Hegel’s dead. It’s down to me, now.”

  2. >>>So I went home to my wife, how has a degree in Philosophy,

    I think you wanted to say :
    So I went home to my wife, who has a degree in Philosophy …

    Please note some people read your blog posts even word by word — so evey mistake will be noticed …!!!!

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